Inside the North America Graduate Program

What is it like to join Steer as a graduate?

Steer’s graduate program is at the heart of our international operation, offering unparalleled opportunities for training and career advancement to a select intake of bright and talented grads each year.

Steer shapes regions and communities through our expertise in transport, energy and sustainability and our work is more important now than ever before. With this in mind, we are looking to take on a fresh crop of early career consultants who want to build on their existing skills and grow within a dynamic organization.

Situated in either our Planning or Advisory business units, our North American grads learn from the best, gain access to high-quality insights from senior colleagues, and are offered the chance to work on international projects with our teams in Latin America, Europe, and South Asia.

Ahead of applications closing for our grad program on March 8 we caught up with two of our current graduates, Lenya Schmidt-Neuhaus and Matthew Capuano-Rizzo to find out their experiences since joining in September 2023.

What have you learned on the Steer grad scheme?


I've learned a lot on the grad scheme from both a technical skill perspective and also just general consulting and networking skills. There's a lot of attention towards us from senior leadership and I think it's really easy to connect with those people through training, general discussions and project work.

My background was mainly sustainability-focused so I was really hoping to gain more knowledge and insight into the world of transportation planning and different forms of urban planning. Now, I already feel like I have a much better understanding of the field and what infrastructure planning actually requires.

There's been a big focus on different kinds of training like Excel modeling skills, network modeling and different kinds of report writing skills. Looking back at when I was started in September versus now I think have come a long way in those different technical aspects, I’ve enjoyed gaining the technical skills to support my interest in sustainability.


One of the first things we were told shortly after joining was that good consulting is picking up the phone and calling people. We’ve been encouraged not to be intimidated by problems that we don't know how to solve. Instead of being overwhelmed by ourselves, we problem-solve as a team. That's the way that I've been able to learn a lot of the skills required for the job. I feel like every day, I'm being asked to do something that, at first, I don't know how to do, and then I become an expert by the end of the week.

I think a lot of jobs expect you to either know everything or nothing when you come out of school. At Steer, there is a good middle ground in the sense that they expect you to come in with some skills, but they also don't expect you to be an expert. They're very happy to take the time to teach new skills—that's something that's really unique because it takes a lot of time and investment on the company's part.

What kind of mentoring have you received during your time at Steer?


I wanted to learn more about the business from a colleague in Boston, I was just giving my background that I studied chemistry and environmental justice, and she brought me to think about how I would be able to apply that to a topic relevant to Steer.

Thanks to the discussion with that mentor, we came up with the idea of me presenting a topic for a knowledge sharing session. I did a presentation on the sustainability impacts of electric vehicle (EV) batteries four separate times to teams in the UK and North America. Throughout, my colleague really pushed me to build on my presentation skills, look at a topic that I'd be interested in, and share that with a wider audience. I ended up presenting that to over 100 people, and this led to further projects and people being more interested in working with me.


The person who's been the most like a mentor is someone in the Los Angeles office. I was on a project measuring potential demand for an airport connector and I was the main person for data collection. Throughout the project, this colleague gave me really practical tips on how to analyze data in R, GIS and Excel. At each step of the way, I would call her, and we would go through it together.

We just submitted the report for that client last week and it was cool to see the project from the start to the finish. It's kind of exciting to see the real impacts of the work that we do at Steer.

What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?  


I've been working on this food access and transportation project in North America, assessing the needs of different communities and how they transit and access better quality food that they can afford, and food relevant to their culture.

Just by talking to the client and seeing different focus groups, and better understanding the geography, I think there's some real impact that can be made by the end of this project. I've just really been enjoying the type of work and the outcome that will come from it.


Prior to joining Steer, I was very excited by the idea of being part of an international team with international projects. I am currently working on two international projects; one is for a multilateral development bank evaluating the bank's transportation investments, and the second project is for a sports stadium, looking at how people access the stadium for an upcoming major sporting event.

What’s your favorite thing about the working culture at Steer?


I would say just getting to talk to people who have similar interests. I think I've had a lot of interesting conversations, and I've been able to attend different events outside of Steer with those colleagues. I think it's really the casual conversation aspect and getting to learn more about what opportunities are in the field I'm most interested in. There’s a lot to learn from a lot of different people.


I would say the horizontal structure. I can call senior colleagues and they will pick up and answer whatever question I have or sometimes they'll call me too which is exciting because it's a way to quickly learn.

The culture is so open, and you don't have to be afraid if you don't know the answer to a question. Equally, you don't also have to be afraid to ask questions, even in big meetings, you can still ask questions and people will answer. Haha, I guess that’s why our motto is “complex questions, powerful answers”.

Applications for our graduate program are open until March 8 and you can find out more here. Applicants should be near or willing to relocate to our offices in Toronto, New York or Los Angeles.


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